What are the essentials for undergraduates and postgraduates engaged in quantitative and qualitative research? How can the gap between formulating a research question and carrying out research be bridged? This accessible, well-judged text provides students with a matchless introduction to generic research skills. It is uncluttered, direct and unpatronizing. Key features of the book are: - Accessibility - Clarification of key issues and problem solving guidance - Demonstration of the importance of interplay between theory and research - Realism in defining essential research issues and the problems that researchers encounter. `It is not the case that anyone can do social research", most research requires training. Here Malcolm Williams provides such training.. Helpful and often humorous' - Roger Sapsford, University of Teesside"

Introduction

With the enormous growth in recent years of a research culture in public life, or perhaps more specifically an evidence-based and evaluation culture, more and more people are called upon to undertake social research. Social research can appear bewildering for first-time researchers, whether they are students or those who must undertake research as part of their jobs. When is a survey appropriate, or when are depth interviews better? How big should a sample be? When is a finding ‘significant’, etc., etc.? The aim of this book is to help those who must undertake social research (willingly or perhaps reluctantly) to make sense of these things.

What is social research?

Social research is the means by which social scientists understand, explain and predict the social world. Social ...

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